What I Did On My Last-Week-Of-Summer Vacation
Without doing a single thing, I made a bit of personal history this past week off. It marked the first time in recent memory that I used all of my allotted vacation. Five weeks burned.
I had no plans for the final five days, but I sure got a lot in on the fly. A trip to Madison for the Badgers' win over Arizona State followed by a drive north to Green Bay for the Pack's victory over the Bills the next day. I caught three Brewers games, too as well as a Cubs/Cardinals scrape in Chicago Friday afternoon. I know a lot of Milwaukee baseball fans hate Wrigley Field, but the place still has old-time charm and can actually be a fun place to watch baseball on a late fall day once Cubs fans are beaten into submission with the team's mathematical elimination from the post-season.
It wasn't all hot dogs and warm beer, though. I had a date with 30 bags of top soil which I lovingly placed in the back yard, right where my wife wants it for next spring. The wind picked up that same night, dropping a 30 foot long willow limb right exactly where I was tussling with dirt just 12 hours before. I dispatched said limb Saturday, armed with nothing more than a bow saw, a rake and a sharp pair of clippers. I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay.
I had lunch with some old buds and even made it up to Sheboygan where one of my former bosses is now running the very first radio station I got paid to work at. I took a spin around the old home town, paid respects at the parents' graveside, saw that my birthplace is up for sale, brought home vintage Sheboygan brats/hard rolls for dinner and called it a day well spent.
The "World" stopped spinning while I was off: "As The World Turns" that is, which ended a 54 year run Monday. I got caught up on TV, becoming addicted to "Boardwalk Empire" on HBO and continued my love affair with "Mad Men". I dipped into "The League" but felt I was watching guys I'd rather punch than laugh at. I'm still watching "Parenthood" which is no good for my blood sugar. I did my civic duty and watched the first governor's debate (why in God's name did they choose such a stiff format?).
It's time to once again become a productive part of society. I missed my radio buds and the in-house coffee and the off-air banter and the omni-present dark humor. I missed the morning buzz, the feeling that we're the first to know and that can't-wait-to-share-it excitement that comes with a big breaking story.
The end of September marks my Radio City anniversary. It's 28 years since I first pulled in to 720 East Capitol Drive. I've changed stations and morning show partners. I've seen tons of good people come and go. I'm lucky to be around at such an exciting time for our industry. Sure, the new technologies and delivery methods created what are politely referred to as "challenges" by those of us in the more traditional media, but I can't help to think that the new era also brings new opportunity.
The anniversary also brings me five new weeks of vacation. As much as I love what I do, it still hard to use 'em all. When you like your job, it's hard being away, although there's no enjoying a 1:30 a.m. alarm or going to bed when it's still sunny and 80 degrees outside.
Then again, If getting out of bed is the toughest part of my day, what is there to complain about? It's been a great vacation, but it's time to get back to the grind.